Punjabi heartthrob Gippy Grewal is content with his work in Lucknow Central, which stars Farhan Akhtar in the lead. In an exclusive interview with Surbhi Varma of The Lifestyle Journalist, the actor shares about his experience of working with Farhan, changing people’s perception about Sardaars with his role in the film, and his upcoming Punjabi biopic on Subedar Joginder Singh.
His debut Hindi film Second Hand Husband bombed at the box office. However, it didn’t deter Punjabi singer-actor GippyGrewal from making a comeback in Bollywood with film Lucknow Central, which is set in the backdrop of a jail.
Playing Punjabi prisoner ParminderSinghal, aka Pali in the film, he says, “On being told that FarhanAkhtar is starring in the film, I agreed to listen to the script. The whole process took at least three hours. The storyline is so inspiring and full of emotions that I could not say no to the film.”
Fan of Farhan
After signing Lucknow Central, the actor was pumped up to work with FarhanAkhtar whom he looks up to. “I had many scenes with Farhan and working with him was an exhilarating experience. I also learnt a lot from him,” says Gippy, adding, “Though I have directed, sung and composed content for Punjabi films, working in Lucknow Central helped me sharpen my abilities.” Having bonded well on the sets of the film, Gippy reveals that when they were not shooting, Farhan would share about his tours and performing experiences around the globe.
Full Masti on Sets
The actor also reveals about the good times he shared with his another co-actor Deepak Dobriyal. “Every time he saw me on the sets, he would start singing my song Angrezi Beat and the whole team would join him and sing in tandem. I feel blessed to have got so much love from everyone during the shooting of the film”.
Set to Change Perception about Sardars
Gippy is of the view that ‘Sardaar’ characters haven’t been portrayed rightly in Bollywood. “I have seen people making jokes and fun about the Sardaars. There are a number of jokes on them. It only clarifies that Bollywood does not have knowledge about our community, our way of life and our commitment to our nation. With this role, I am certain to change the mindset of people, who have so far viewed Punjabis as unintelligent, stupid and naïve,” he says.
Third Time Lucky
Looking back in time, Gippy recalls his struggling period back in 2002. Even after two unsuccessful albums, he didn’t surrender. While his family and friends bolstered him during his tough time, his failures made him strong enough to push hard to reach out to his ultimate goal in his life.
“It is rightly said, ‘The third time’s the charm.’ My third album MeleMittaran De didn’t do that great but people started recognizing me, and it was my first step to success,” says Gippy, whose songsPhulkarifrom his third album broke many records in Punjabi music industry.
The actor ventured in Punjabi film industry as an antagonist in 2010 with film Mel KaradeRabba. It later got him the lead role in JihneMeraDilLuteya, which saw the biggest opening day, weekend and week ever for a Punjabi film at the time of release. He followed it up with other films like Mirza – The Untold Story and Carry on Jatta, which had a successful run at the box office. Other than featuring in a number of Punjabi film, Gippy even went on to helm film Ardass starring GurpreetGhuggi, AmmyVirk, and Mandy Takhar.
“Not many people knew about me when I started my acting career. I am glad to have etched a space for myself in the industry over a period of time,” says the multi-talented star, who is hopeful of proving his mettle as an actor in Bollywood.
Punjabi Artist Ruling B-town
Punjab has never been limited to Punjabi films only as many Bollywood films have a touch of Punjab in them, be it in terms of music, dialect or Punjabi characters. On this Gippy says, “Punjab has given splendid singers to Hindi film industry. Further, Punjabi music has become an integral part of Bollywood. Punjabi vocalists are lauded universally and have a massive fan following.”
Not Limiting Himself to Bollywood
Unlike his Punjabi contemporaries, including YoYo Honey Singh and Badshah, Gippy wouldn’t like to concentrate on Bollywood music alone, and his priority will always remain Punjabi music and film industry. He also adds, “There are many tracks that I have sung for Bollywood films but people don’t know that KhulkeDulke from the movie Befikre (2016) and Angrezi Beat from the Bollywood hit movie Cocktail (2012) are my original tracks.”
While he looks up to Gurdas Mann for his acting and work ethics in Punjabi industry, in Bollywood, he admires Aamir Khan. “He has done fantastic films. One really gets immersed into his films from the beginning till the end,” says Gippy who hopes to win hearts of audience with his upcoming biopic on martyr’s SubedarJoginder Singh.
The warrior was after death granted the ParamVir Chakra for his inspiring leadership, steadfast courage and devotion to duty beyond all odds, during the 1962 Sino-Indian War.
“I wasn’t even aware of this son of our soil until I was offered the biopic,” says Gippy, adding, “The content moved me. After the first narration of the script, I thoroughly studied about him as I felt humiliated for not knowing anything about this national hero who hails from Punjab.”
It wasn’t easy for Gippy to internalize the character Joginder Singh. “It’s a testing period as I had to shed 10 kilos and afterward gain 25 kilos to look like him. Additionally, as it is history that we were diving into; we had to be doubly sure that we were presenting the facts correctly,” he says signing off.